Then on that following Tuesday Cricket colicked, and I held my breath.
Wednesday he was better, and I let out a huge sigh of relief.
Thursday I put him down, and I cried.
I keep telling myself how fortunate I am to have had him for 13 years and how lucky we were to have one last great ride, doing what we both loved together. Honestly though, it hurts. I feel like I've lost my best friend and can't get over it. He was the one constant horse in my life. I rode him through both of my pregnancies and gave he gave both of my boys their first rides. When I needed to get something done or didn't feel my best, he was my go to guy. I just knew he would be the horse to teach both the boys to rope.
When given the option of surgery or putting him down, I made the choice to put him down over the 5 hour trailer ride for surgery when the odds weren't in our favor. He was in so much pain and kept looking to me to make him feel better.
I loaded him in our trailer and I drove him home. I unloaded him in the drive way, and lead him just as slowly as he wanted to walk down in the pasture where he would have shade and a beautiful view of the Rubies. Then I held his head and scratched the spot I knew he liked the most while the vet gave him the shot that took all of his pain away forever. And I cried. A lot.
I really hope he is with a girl in heaven who needed a good horse. Who can appreciate him for what he is. Look past his quirks and love him like I did, because he deserves that much. Maybe someday I will find another horse just like him, who challenges me when I need it and takes care of me on the days I can't. Until then I know I will have some hard days.
Saturday I rope in the first branding contest I've entered since I lost him. I feel lost. I feel like I can't rope, and I just really want to stay home and pretend that he is down in the field with his ears pinned back, glaring at any other horse who gets too close. I could really use my copilot for one more ride.
|Photo courtesy of Heidi Stevens|